Nikon D50 or D70?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by Ian Rance, Jul 11, 2009.

  1. I have been reading up on past threads, but could not fine exactly what I was after - especially a recent thread.
    My local shop has a near mint D50 and D70 with all accessories for 100 UK pounds (special offer to me). Now, which of these two is the best to go for - or perhaps you think neither are worth bothering with (too old)? I want to start to practise with using a Nikon DSLR and get a feel for using them. At these prices they are tempting. Rather than the money worrying me, it is the fact that one of them may be really ropey and give results that will put me off.
    Your thoughts really welcome.
    Also as a wildcard, they have a mint 35mm f/2 AF-D for 150 pounds - perhaps the glass would be better value than either of these DSLR's?
    Sorry to ask what may sound a simple question, but I have until Monday to decide.
    Ian
     
  2. i'd go for the d50, actually. the D70 was great in its time but the D50 is actually a sleeper of a camera--it has higher DR and better low-light performance than the D70, plus a bigger LCD.
     
  3. I have used both and much prefer the D50. The D70 is a great camera but the rear view screen is smaller and it produces images with more noise.It does show greater detail however (its a trade off) and if you are prepared to spend time in post processing then it might be for you.
    Im not saying you will not need to do some PP with the D50 images but it does produce more pleasing straight from camera images which often only need tweeking.Unless of course you shoot raw.
    The D70 has a depth of field preview button.I never used it however as the viewfinder was too small for my poor eyes..same size as D50 though (from memory)
    The D70 uses two control wheels,whereas the D50 has one, so there are a couple of adjustments you will have to make by scrolling on the menu of the D50.This never bothers me as I mostly shoot landscapes,so have plenty of time.The menu system is a beauty anyway.
    At the end of the day I love the D50 and much prefer the seemingly richer and smoother images it produces. There is a nice article which discusses the differences here :
    http://terrychay.com/blog/article/d50-or-d70.shtml
     
  4. Ian,
    That is a pretty sweet deal. I think you want something newer, but at that price, if they function perfectly, I'd go with either one that was available. Probably rather have a D70, but it might end up having the BGLOD problem. Find out if that's been fixed.
    My D50 is capable of great photos, and the D70 is very close. It has some things I wish I had that I think you'll enjoy. CLS commander mode, DoF preview, gridlines on demand, white balance fine-tuning.
     
  5. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Ian, if I were you, I would buy a higher-end and more up-to-date DSLR. For someone like you who has been using higher-end film SLRs, picking up one of those older, low-end DSLR will likely give you the "digital sucks" impression. In particular, their viewfinders will probably disappoint you.
    5 years ago the D70 was the first "affordable" DSLR at $1000, and a lot of people went for it. Today, there are much better choices well below $1000.
     
  6. Just say NO, Ian, you are getting on a slippery slope now...
    OK, I had to do that - don't say later you haven't been warned...
    My first DSLR had been the D70 - the D50 wasn't available then. The D70 has been updated to the same screen size as the D50 and was then called the D70s. If the choice was between the D50 and D70s, I'd go for the latter - less things to search for in a menu. If it is between the D50 and the D70 - take the D50 simply because it is the newer camera. On paper, the D70 has more to offer - look for a side-by-side comparison and if anything that is missing in the D50 is important to you, then you have your answer.
    The decision between D50/D70 and the 35/2 is all yours... (I'd take both, they make a fine combo).
    Just read Shun's remark and I agree (still remember my disappointment when I looked through the D70 viewfinder for the first time). If you want your MF lenses to meter on a DSLR, the D200 is the minimum you should be shooting for (and you may want to replace the standard focusing screen then).
     
  7. Ian, I don't know your age, but until a year ago, I'd say go for the D70. This was may first dSLR, and I still use it for travels and for a backup to my D300.
    The last year, my doctor has diagnosed me with "fortytitis", you know, the disease that strikes us all at approx 40 years of age, and makes us wear these small glass objects in front of our eyes...... ;)
    To be serious, the view screen, which seemed perfectly adequate up until one year ago, now seems way too small, and I have to wear glasses watching it. Apart from that, the D70 is a h**l of a camera.
    Luckily, with a Nikon you cannot go wrong, whatever you decide upon..... Eeeeh, I mean , until the NAS gets you, that is... ;) ;)
     
  8. Thank you for the replies - absorbing them all here.
    Firstly, the viewfinder - yes they seemed very small and not good for MF, but then I think that instead of a viewfinder it seemed more like a 'composing frame' - if you see it down there then there is a fighting chance it will be in the final image. I am not 40 yet, but not so far away now...
    Newer camera - well they also had a D80 in the same nice condition, but that was 400 UK pounds - not such a bargain.
    Shun, is it only the viewfinder that is the problem with those cameras or will the PQ lag behind the newer cameras too?
    Dieter - it is a big decision I know, and I am apprehensive inside, and I understand completely what you are saying. The D200 (or 300) would be perfect, but I a little concerned that I won't get along with it so feel a bit worried about spending heavily straight away.
    Thank you again for your help.
    Ian
     
  9. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Ian, since you have a lot of manual-focus lenses, I would get at least a D200 so that your camera can meter with them. Generally speaking, overall image quality has improved since DSLRs from 5 years ago.
    Below that, the D80 and D90 are fine DSLRs but cannot meter with AI/AI-S lenses that have no CPU. If you shoot from the tripod a lot, the D90 has the additional advantage of live view for critical focusing.
    Additionally, the D50 is the only Nikon DSLR that uses SD memory cards but is not SD-HC compatible. That would be quite annoying too.
     
  10. Well, Ian, it is only 100 UK pounds - not too much to invest for trying something out. If you don't like it, you might be able to recover what you spent. If you do like it, then I foresee that you will want to upgrade very soon - and might be able to recover the money spend now too. It cost me 10x that to get into digital - and I had trouble getting used to shooting with the D70 - and I had been shooting mostly slides before; the step might even be more difficult if you are used to shooting negative film.
     
  11. Both are good workhorse cameras. In my experience, the D50 was bought by casual shooters, while the D70 was often heavily used by pros. So the usual D50 is typically in better condition, being newer and used lightly. Either one can be set in Manual exposure mode to work with all your old MF lenses, which is very cost effective. I can't recommend the D40, D40X and D60 just because they lack a focus drive in the camera, which makes using the older screw drive AF lenses very inconvenient. The cost of any camera system is dominated by the lenses, not the camera, so you really save if you can use your old lenses.
    Some have said don't get either one, get a D200. Well, it is 4X more expensive but has a zillion more features and capability. For a beginner, probably overkill. Starting out, I would go with the D70S as suggested by someone, it has a slightly larger display and is newer.
     
  12. D50 gave nicer colour and less noise out of the box, but the D70 is overal a more complete camera. Use them with RAW and a modern RAW converter (for example, the free ViewNX), and both cameras will still deliver nice images (one of the advantages of digitaland RAW: advances in software also improve older photos).
    And get the 35 f/2 for that amount of money. It's a very nice lens, the 50mm for APS-C DSLRs.... The combination will tell you whether digital works for you or not, after which you'll probably want a D300 for its vastly better viewfinder and the ability to use your MF lenses with full metering.
    I hope the budget is OK with both? ;-)
     
  13. I personally would go for the D50. I still use a D50 as a backup for my D90. But I think that a reasonable question for you is, when you eventually get a better newer camera, would you be more likely to go for a small one like the D90 or D5000 or their successors, or a larger, more feature-laden one like the D300 or it's successor?
    The D70 makes a better backup for the D300, because it shares the same memory cards, and has a more similar feature set, while a D50 makes a better backup for the D90, because it shares the same memory cards, and has very similar body ergonomics.
    Image quality wise, they are very similar, but the D50 has about 1/2 EV better high ISO performance. On the other hand, there are a few features that it lacks relative to the D70, such as depth of field preview, and shutter speeds faster than 1/4000, and a 2nd command dial . Also, the D50 is noticeably smaller and lighter.
    IMHO, both of these are better choices than a D40, because of the focus motor, that makes a wide range of older, inexpensive but quite good AF-D lenses available to you. I should add that I personally found the IQ of the D50 to be the equal of my D80, and when I got a D90, I sold my D80 and kept my D50 as my backup, rather than the D80. I simply didn't think that the D80 was enough better than the D50 to justify the value difference (at the time I sold it, used D80 bodies were selling for around double what used D50 bodies were).
    In either case, I'd pick up the 35mm f2 AF-D (or else the newer 35mm f1.8 AF-S, if it's available to you).
     
  14. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    while a D50 makes a better backup for the D90, because it shares the same memory cards,​
    Not quite, and that is one of the problems. Since SD-HC is so popular now, I find it very annoying that you are restricted to the older SD cards only and be limited to 2G because your D50 cannot take the new cards.
     
  15. Fair point, but I always carry around a few 2 GB cards anyways, which are actually plenty big when used in a 6 Megapixel camera. And 2 GB cards can be bought for around $4 nowadays.
     
  16. Thank you again for your comments - seems it is not as straight forward as I thought (always the case with new technology). I will re-read what you have said tomorrow morning - it is late in the UK now. You have all been very helpful.
    Ian
     
  17. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    2G was pretty big for a 6MP DSLR, but all current DSLRs are 10, 12 more MP (assuming that the D40 will be gone soon). Today, even the D5000 is a 12MP DSLR. And because of compatibility with your D50 backup, you are stuck with 2G SD cards for your new DSLRs and cannot purchase any of the new SD-HC cards; that doesn't make any sense to me. On the other hand, if you buy modern memory cards, they cannot be used on the D50 and you lose the backup.
    Ian, no offense, but based on a number of questions you posted, you seem to have a tendency to buy (or at least be interested in) whatever your local camera store happens to have in their used department. Do those cameras and lenses really meet your needs?
     
  18. As I said, 2GB cards are dirt cheap nowadays - so it's no biggie to stick a couple of them with one's D50. Would it be better if the D50 could use SDHC cards? Of course it would. But it's really a minor issue from a cost perspective to get two or three 2 GB cards for use with a D50.
    I personally have an issue with the SDHC spec. I think that it would have been highly desirable if larger SDHC cards could have a standard SD mode, where they could be used and written to by existing SD devices (albeit with only 2 GB of capacity in that mode).
    In any case, back to my original point - that is, the D50 remains a quite serviceable camera, with IQ among the very best of any 6 MP camera, and it may very well pay for itself at 100 Pounds, to serve to educate the buyer as to what he really wishes he had in the future when he makes a more substantial investment in a more current DSLR - and even then, it could still carry it's weight as a very serviceable backup with output quality that there will never be any need to apologize for.
     
  19. I have no experience with the D50, but I've been told that for low light that's the better camera.
    I do however have the D70. Now I took a few shots with it when it arrived a few months ago (I found one with less than 1400 clicks). I love the fact that it uses CF cards over the SD cards & I've had it IR converted & love it for that. I'm very happy with this little camera.
    Lil :)
     
  20. Ian.... The D70, if for no other reason than the two control wheels, so you have one for aperture and one for shutter. In my opinion, a D200 is the next choice after a D70/D70s, but you'll hardly go wrong testing the waters with the D70 for 100 pounds.
     
  21. I've tried both in local shops. The D70 didn't ring my bell much harder than the D100 I'd tried a few years earlier. But even after having used my D2H for a couple of years I was impressed with the then-new D50.
    If you think of it as a Coolpix that also happens to accept other lenses, it's not a bad deal at that price. Great low noise, high ISO performance, well documented by tests, not just opinions. I'd still get a D50 if I found a good working sample at such a low price. It'd be a great replacement for my old Olympus C-3040Z P&S digicam. The size and handling of the D50 reminded me of a Coolpix 8800, minus the CLS flash compatibility and built in VR, but with far better high ISO performance and much more nimble AF and shutter responsiveness. Consider it in those terms, it might be a fun addition to the arsenal.
     
  22. At 100 pounds this is a no brainer! BUY THE D50!! You can't lose. Its also a bit smaller and lighter so easy to carry around.
    I have had both the D50 and D70 and the out of camera images of the D50 are MUCH BETTER than the D70, plus you get the bigger screen and newer technology.
    The D50 is a very nice camera to have with very nice tonal qulaity. I also have both a Fuji S5 and S3 pro and the D50 comes close to both of those in beautiful smooth clour tonal quality and these cameras are known for their great JPG images. In fact, I even prefer the tonal qulity of the D50 to the D80 (which I also had but gave away and kept the D50)
    The SD v SDHC card is a non-issue. I've alsways just left an old 1 GB card in my D50 and that is plenty. Double it to 2GB at virtually no cost and buy a few spares if you need them.
     
  23. Thank you again - the D50 is getting plenty of positive comments here I see.
    Shun, my local shop whilst being local is the only place within many miles that bothers to stock any decent gear - used or new. They have the 35mm AF-S, 50mm AF-S and other nice gear in stock. I do try to buy there as they are very good with returning goods and offereing help. Perhaps they don't stock exactly what I need, but they always have D700's, D3's and D3x's (new) in stock so when I am ready for one of those they will do me the best deal they can.
     
  24. Also, you must be aware there were many D70 with bad CF readers. They tended to have an annoying error causing memory corruption
    I have used both cameras and unless you want to risk of a failing D70, choose the D50. My D70' went two times to Nikon service beacause a CF reader failure and a LCD failure.
    I currently own a d40x, repaired and sold my d70, and bought a d50 as a backup at 220 USD.
     
  25. Hi, I had both and at the end used the D70 since I use older lenses and use the commander function for flash quite a lot. Must say image quality better with D50 but that is marginal. The CF reader is extremely anoying, but nothing that PC Inspector cannot rescue.
     
  26. I liked the D50 very much, and I "upgraded" too soon (should have bought new lenses instead). Here are some pictures I took wth it: http://www.photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=629502 all with 18-70 or 70-300G
    It's a great camera. I just couldn't live with the "childsetting" ;)
     
  27. I'd get a 2nd D50 at that price if I could even afford that right now... :-( I'm going on 3 years of heavy use and ZERO problems (ok, occasionally there's hot pixels I have to clean up in post when I do long exposures...) When I upgrade to the D300 or better my D50 will be converted to an Infrared only camera...
     
  28. The D70 was my first DSLR (bought it used! $900 USD), I upgraded this year to the D300 after 3-4 years of heavy use. my wife took the D70 and gave my daughter her D40 (I guess we are an Nikon family).
    We have had NO problems with the 70, is has traveled with us all over the southwest USA and has not always been treated nice. I have never used the D50 and have no opinon to offer on that body. I feel that the D70 was a great step from film to digital, I shot all manual (K100 Pentax, Mamiya C330, Mamiya RB67 etc...) with the 2 knobs for adjustments I found the transistion eaiser. I think for the price this is the perfect choice.
     
  29. Both are fine cameras. Where the d50 wins out for me is size - it is noticeably smaller. If you decide later that you want a much better camera, it will probably be bigger. And it is always a good thing to have a smaller camera around for when the bigger beasts get in the way. I'm planning to eventually move up to a full frame camera, but keep the d50 for simple stuff. It is a great camera to use for day to day, and can easily handle many thousands of shots. If you're just trying it out, go for the easy-to-use smaller one; I don't think image quality will be that different (and d50 may have the advantage, but not by much).
     
  30. Thank you again for all the comments. I will go in tomorrow to look at them again and maybe choose one, and I am now far better informed.
     
  31. I am very happy with my D70, but I have not used a D50. Mine was purchased used, with several lenses. If the reports of better low light performance are accurate and this is an issue that matters to you, then the D50 would be the better choice. One area where I feel the D70 lags a bit is in low light situations. The size and weight of the D70 are not an issue, infact I like the heft of the camera. Feels comforting in the hand. My standard lens is a Tokina 28-70 constant f2.8 zoom (42-105 film equivalent) that allows me to shoot just about any situation. I also use several Ai and AiS primes in manual mode using Sunny 16 and the histogram for exposure. I set the af to spot and using the red led, I can focus where I want in the frame. I am mindful of the card seating issues so I try to transfer images using a usb cable between the camera and computer, then I format the card in camera. I don't use any of the Nikon software, prefering to use Irfanview for minor adjustments and CS2 for substantial post processing.
     

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